Vintage Belt Change Dispensers: What Were They Used For and Where Are They Now?

A Vintage Change Dispenser From Wikipedia

Featured Image Courtesy of Wikipedia.

In older movies, you may have noticed bus drivers or train conductors giving people change with a funny little contraption on their belt.

These changer dispensers were made to attach to belts and make it easy to dispense coins. The user pulls a lever corresponding to a barrel with a denomination, and the coin falls from the bottom into their hand.

The portable coin dispenser was invented by Jacques L. Galef. I couldn’t find the exact year these were invented, but the earliest patent I found by Galef for his coin change machine was from 1921.

How do belt change dispensers work?

The mechanism is incredibly simple. It doesn’t require any batteries or other electronics.

The level is attached to a spring. When the lever is pulled, the spring pulls on the bottom of the barrel, with enough room for exactly one coin to fall through.

When you run out of coins, you simply undo a clasp the top and put coins back in! It’s that simple.

How many coins could wearable coin dispensers hold?

On average, most dispensers hold about 1 roll worth of each coin denomination. This means:

  • $10 in Quarters – 40 Quarters
  • $5 in Dimes – 50 Dimes
  • $2 in Nickels – 40 Nickels
  • $0.50 in Pennies – 50 Pennies
  • For a total of $17.50

Are clip on belt coin dispensers still used?

Yes!

The Advantus Four-Barrel Money Changer on Amazon has hundreds of reviews from users! And since Amazon was founded in 1994, I very much doubt there are all from train-ticket collectors.

The Advantus Portable Change Dispenser. Click the Image to be Redirected to Amazon.

Looking through the reviews it seems like the most common way these are used today is people keeping them in their car. That’s a really great way to keep coins organized and easily accessible. No more fumbling around for change at the Drive Thru!

One woman even uses it for her job at Sonic. She commended the money changer for never dropping change or getting jammed.

Others keep them as part of their hobby. They are a really eye-catching piece to have in your house. Although these aren’t vintage, it does act as a great reproduction.

This coin dispenser holds:

  • $9.50 in Quarters – 38 Quarters
  • $5.60 in Dimes – 56 Dimes
  • $1.85 – 37 Nickels
  • $0.49 in Pennies – 49 Pennies
  • For a total of $17.44

I like these coin dispensers a lot! I think they have a really interesting antique look. I’d love to see more businesses incorporating these into their shops.

This would be a great addition to a hipster coffee shop. 😂


As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn ad revenue from purchases made through Amazon links on my site. This does not increase the price of items linked through my site. My purpose is to inform.

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